THE EXERCISES 167
exact appreciation of differences in the shapes and dimensions of
SELF-EDUCATION IN TASTE AND SMELL
The exercises relative to these senses are not very easily render-
ed attractive. I can only say that exercises like those commonly
adopted in psychometry do not seem to me suitable and practicable
at least for little children.
So our second experiment was to organize * games of the
senses,' which the children could repeat among themselves. We
made the child smell fresh scented violets and jasmine; or in late
May, we used the roses gathered for the flower vases. Then we
blindfolded a child, saying to him, " Now we are going to give
you some presents; we will present you with some flowers."
A companion brings close to his nose perhaps a bunch of
violets, which the child is expected to recognize. Then, as a test
in intensity, he is presented a single flower, or a quantity of
Then we adopted the simpler idea of letting the environment
do a great part of the educational work. Really, the odours for
exercising the senses must first of all be available and as they are
not necessarily in existence around us, like light and like the sound
which results from every movement, we got the idea of dispersing
perfumes systematically in the surroundings, arranging to make
them more and more delicate.
Some sachets decorated in Chinese fashion were hung up as
ornaments, attached to the walls. Flowers and garden herbs,
soaps scented with natural perfumes such as almond and lavender
were prepared and placed round the children.
Only later, having made little plots of sweet herbs, forming
almost a green alley, in order that colour should not claim atten-
tion as happens with pretty flowers, we found that the greatest
interest in finding different odours existed in children about three
years of age. To our astonishment, we saw little ones bringing